Weeknight Cooking

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs, Pancetta, and Pepitas

February 17, 2014

Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.

Today: The perfect weeknight dinner, plus five tricks to make it even better.

Orecchiette from Food52

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Sometimes, I trick all of you. This is a weeknight cooking column, as you know, but there are weeks I force you to make birthday cakes and stews, hoping you won’t notice. But hey everyone, Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs, Pancetta, and Pepitas is a total straight up weeknight recipe that puts your family right where you want them to be, which hopefully is NOT in front of DVRed “Dog with a Blog,” at the dinner hour.

Here are a few tips that you can ignore, but will slightly speed up this otherwise straightforward deal:

1. Trader Joe’s sells really good pepitas. I keep bags of them in the basement. 

2. I buy pre-chopped pancetta. You don’t have to, but BOOM, saved ya five minutes. 

3. I like panko bread crumbs. They are not fresh. But they are good.

4. I use my best best olive oil, saved for such dishes. If you come to my house and attempt to cook with it I will become very angry and passive aggressively hide your scarf. “Was the scarf orange, you say? Gee, I never saw it.”

5. Re-heats okay-ish one day later. No more.

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs, Pancetta, and Pepitas by cheese1227

Makes 8 cups of pasta

1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, broken into bite sized pieces
1 pound of orecchiette (if unavailable use conchiglie or cavatelli)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup of good olive oil
3 thick slices of pancetta, cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lemon wedge
1/2 cup grated Pecorino
1/2 cup chopped parsley 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

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Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


mcs3000 February 23, 2014
sold! if a recipe or dish has pepitas in it, i make it or order it. ps. thx for the TJ pepitas tip, jenny!
elloella February 21, 2014
would this be good without the pancetta? i'm vegetarian
Rednoodles February 19, 2014
I can't share the recipe because the stuff on the right side bar covers it and I cant see it nor send it
Colleen W. February 17, 2014
Typos in recipe -- pumpkin seeds are "pepitas" -- "pepitos" are meat sandwiches or slang for a dandy
healthierkitchen February 17, 2014
I forgot about this one - thanks for the reminder!